Six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will retire on July 24, one day after the Tour de France. At a press conference in Augusta, Georgia today, 33 year-old Armstrong announced that he would not be continuing for another year, confirming his statements earlier this year that "four months, and it's over."
Armstrong said today, "I have decided that the Tour de France will be my last race as a professional cyclist. July 24 will be my last one after 14 years in the professional peloton. Having said that, I'm fully committed to winning a seventh Tour.
"I have thought a lot about it, I have gone back and forth. My time has come but I will definitely have the itch every now and again. My children are my biggest supporters but at the same time they are the ones who told me it's time to come home...I am 100 percent committed and the decision is final.
"After I made the decision to ride the Tour, I started to think about it. I had period of one month without my kids in Texas, and that was much harder than before. Last year there was a two month period and then a three month one, but this year was something that I've never experienced. They're at an age where they change daily, hourly, and to be away from them for one month is gruelling...It's time for me to not miss key moments in their lives."
Apart from spending more time with his family, Armstrong will also put his considerable energy into the campaign to fight against cancer. Armstrong came back from cancer in 1999 to win the Tour de France an unprecedented six times in a row, and became the major cycling celebrity in the process. His achievements also include winning the World Championships in 1993, Clasica San Sebastian in 1995, Fleche Wallonne in 1996, Tour de Suisse in 2001, Dauphine Libere in 2002 and 2003, and Midi Libre in 2002.
Armstrong also said that after his retirement, he will work with Discovery Channel (both the media outlet and the team) to help develop younger riders.
Armstrong's immediate goal is defending his title in the Tour de Georgia, which will start on Tuesday, April 19.